If you’ve applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and had your claim denied, you have only a small window of time to appeal the decision and review your claim. If you miss the deadline or decide that you don’t want your claim reviewed, the Social Security Administration (SSA) closes your case.
However, you may still have a chance to receive your disability benefits, even if your initial claim was denied. An experienced Arizona Social Security and disability lawyer can help you explore your options and ensure that your rights are protected.
What are the reasons to reopen a disability claim?
People who receive disability benefits typically receive back pay to the date of the initial application, so it’s often in your best interests to reopen an existing claim rather than file a new one. Many people who successfully appeal their claim will receive a higher amount of back pay.
When can I reopen my Arizona SSDI claim?
In order to reopen a claim, the SSA requires that any changes be related to the new, current claim. For example, if the condition that prompted you to file the initial claim worsens, then you may reopen the claim.
However, if you have an entirely new medical condition or disability, then you will need to file a new claim. If the two disabilities aren’t related, the SSA won’t reopen the prior claim.
Your ability to reopen the claim also depends on when you filed the first claim. The onset of the second disability must have occurred within the timeframe covered by the first claim.
Reopening the Claim Within 12 Months of the Decision
If you’re reopening a claim within 12 months, you may reopen it for any reason, including if your initial claim was denied by an administrative law judge or the Disability Determination Services.
It’s more difficult to reopen an SSDI claim after 12 months have passed, and you may benefit from legal representation.
Reopening a Claim Between 12 Months and Four Years Later
These claims can only be reopened if the SSA determines there is reasonable cause. The two chief reasons that a claim in this timeframe will be reopened are if there is new, material evidence not available when the initial claim was filed, or if there was a clerical error that resulted in an incorrect determination.
Reopening a Claim More than Four Years Old
It’s very rare that a claim denied more than four years in the past will be reopened. This would only happen, for example, if a witness made false statements, if the claimant was declared dead and was later found alive (very unusual), or if there was an error on the face of the decision.
How can I reopen my SSDI claim?
You will need to file a new application for disability benefits and request in writing that your old claim be reopened. Your application needs to state that the onset date of the disability fell within the timeframe of the initial claim, which, for SSDI applications, is 17 months.
Your Social Security lawyer may request a hearing before an administrative law judge to appeal reopening your claim. They may have a medical expert testify or bring forth new evidence that supports your claim.
Do you need an SSDI attorney?
The Social Security appeals process and the statutes surrounding it can be confusing. The legal team at Roeschke Law, LLC, in Phoenix, AZ, can help. We’ll explain your options and whether you have a chance for a successful appeal or not.
We charge attorney’s fees only if your claim is approved, and we offer a free, no-obligation consultation about your case. Get in touch with our office today.